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Massive volcano on Jupiter's moon could erupt immediately



Jupiter's moon Io houses the most active volcano in the solar system, Loki Patera, a 200-kilometer wide lava lake. A new study suggests that Loki Patera is ready to break out again.

"Loki is the largest and most powerful volcano on Io, so bright in the infrared that we can detect it with the help of telescopes on Earth." Planetary Science The institute's senior scientist, Julie Rathbun, said in a statement: [19659003] After looking at Loki, named after the Norse god, for more than 20 years, scientists have discovered that it breaks out on a "relatively regular schedule". It was every 540 days in the 1990s, and now it's about every 475 days, which made Rathburn think he should break out this month.

  Jupiter's moon Io with active volcanoes. (Source: NASA)

Jupiter's moon Io with active volcanoes. (Credit: NASA)

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Io is not only one of the largest moons of Jupiter, but also one of the Galilean moons of the planet, which was named as such because of Italians were discovered The astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610. The other Galilean moons are Europe, Callisto and Ganymede.

"If this behavior remains the same, Loki should break out in September 2019, roughly at the same time as the EPSC-DPS meeting in Geneva," Rathbun

EPSC-DPS is a joint conference of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Department of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, which is currently being carried out.

Moon eruptions were last discovered by NASA's Juno spacecraft last December

It's unclear why Loki Patera erupts on a regular basis. However, one theory assumes that this is a process different from that leading to volcanic eruptions on Earth, as the top layer solidifies and then falls into the underlying liquid, Space.com reported.

Rathbun seemed to have ensured their bets that another outbreak is imminent.

"Volcanoes are so hard to predict because they are so complicated," she added. "Many factors affect volcanic eruptions, including the magma supply rate, the composition of the magma – especially the presence of bubbles in the magma, the type of rock in which the volcano is located, the fracture state of the rock, and many other factors."

  This image from Voyager 1 shows the Loki volcano on Jupiter's moon Io. When this image was taken, the main eruption activity came from the lower left side of the dark linear feature (possibly a crack) in the middle. Below is the "lava lake", a roughly 200 kilometers wide, U-shaped dark area. (Source: NASA / JPL)

This image from Voyager 1 shows the Loki volcano on Jupiter's moon Io. When this image was taken, the main eruption activity came from the lower left side of the dark linear feature (possibly a crack) in the middle. Below is the "lava lake", a roughly 200 kilometers wide, U-shaped dark area. (Credit: NASA / JPL)

Nevertheless, Rathbun said it's possible that Loki's "massive size" will dominate when it breaks out, so the minor complications that affect smaller volcanoes probably will not affect Loki that much, "Rathbun continued . "But you have to be careful, because Loki is named after a trickster god and the volcano is unknown. They behave themselves. In the early 2000s, when the 540-day pattern was detected, Loki's behavior changed and did not show until around 2013 again a periodic behavior. "

Jupiter's moons – including Europe that could support life – are of great interest to researchers.

In August, NASA confirmed a mission to Jupiter's Moon Europa known as the Europa Clipper Mission In the final phase of the spacecraft's final design, the mission will investigate whether Europe, the sixth largest of Jupiter's 79 known moons, can "accommodate livable conditions and enhance our understanding of astrobiology"

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